A very special evening is in store for all later this month as the High Plains Western Heritage Center hosts its annual Friendraiser, an event that combines fund raising with an opportunity to sign up new members.
This year’s event will see the return of Spearfish’s very own Gary Mule Deer. He will headline the evening with his music and comedy. Gary comes to us fresh off an extended engagement at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville.
Comedian and musician Gary Mule Deer has performed on every major concert stage in the U.S. He has made over 350 television appearances including many on both The Tonight Show and The Late Show With David Letterman, and has entertained everywhere from the Grand Ole Opry to Royal Albert Hall in London. His unique blend of comedy and music has set him apart as a one-of-a-kind performer. Gary was one of six comedians, along with Jay Leno, to star on the very first HBO comedy special, and was the comedy host of Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert on NBC. He has appeared regularly in Las Vegas, Reno, Lake Tahoe and Atlantic City, and for over 20 years toured as a special guest with Johnny Mathis in major venues all across the U.S. and Canada.
Our Friendraiser is always very important to the High Plains Western Heritage Center. It serves three main purposes. It is our major fund raising event each year. It also serves as an outreach to the greater community to educate the public on our mission and vision for the future. Finally it is a time when we expand our membership, either with renewals or with new friends we welcome in during the evening.
The proceeds from the evening will be especially meaningful in two ways. First, we will use the funds to improve our sound and audio/ video / lighting systems in the theater. And second, the theater itself is named in memory of Bruce J. Miller who many of you know is Gary’s father.
Our theater has been especially busy over the past few years, nearly every day during late spring through fall we host thousands of guests from bus tour groups who come in for an orientation and presentation. During the spring the theater hosts our annual Speaker Series. During the winter months it is home to our High Plains Live! music series. We also have western movie matinées in the theater during the winter months. During the summer the venue welcomes tourists and locals alike for our July Cowboy Supper Show featuring Gordy Pratt and Dalyce Sellers. Throughout the year we have become an increasingly valuable resource to groups throughout the region who are renting the theater to host special events for their organizations. And finally, the stage has been the scene of dozens of yearly historical performances from our live actors who bring to life historical figures from Seth Bullock to Sarah Campbell and Col. Carlton, brought to life by Gordy Pratt, Joyce Jefferson and Randy Bender.
Improvements to the theater will include a sound system to handle both presentations and musical performances, a better lighting system for theatrical productions (which is already underway) and a high resolution projector and screen for more vivid presentations. Already we have applied for matching grants to get the work done and our fundraising on the 26th will be applied to match the grants. In effect, for nearly every dollar raised during our Friendraiser, another dollar will be matched.
Our evening will begin at 5:30pm with a social hour. Hors d’oeuvres will be served by Cheyenne Crossing. At 6:45pm we will head into the theater for our opening act featuring Lacy Nelson, an up and coming country/ folk artist form Spearfish, hand-picked by Gary himself. Gary will take the stage right after that.
Tickets are $50 each and there will be limited $100 VIP passes which includes a one-on-one meet and greet with Gary. Call us at (605) 642-9378 for tickets.